Year of the Rabbit: 5 shocking facts of owning rabbits

Misconceptions you never knew about rabbit ownership

Brown dwarf rabbit feeding on hay.
Light brown dwarf rabbit in a green meadow standing above hay. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Remember the 13 abandoned rabbits stained with pee in Clementi?

Rabbit abandonment in Singapore may be a problem on the rise with the coming Year of the Rabbit.

Emma Lee, 29, co-founder of The Weekend Groomers who owns two rabbits, recalls how she adopted her second rabbit, a Black American Fuzzy Lop, after a customer abandoned the rabbit at her grooming shop.

“I thought they were easy pets, but they are not as easy to care for as expected. They really need a lot of affection. You really have to spend time taking care and bonding with them.”

A recent TikTok video also captured a white rabbit abandoned at Tampines Eco Green park.

Lynne Tan, co-founder of animal rescue service Bunny Wonderland, explains that the phenomena might be occurring due to a lack of awareness of the commitment expected of pet ownership.

Most of the time, people are very excited when they write in to adopt. But, when I start telling them about additional costs, they start having second thoughts.

Thinking of owning or adopting cuddly rabbits to ring in the Year of the Rabbit? We debunk some useful myths.

Myth 1: They should be kept in tanks

A Caucasian couple and their toddle look at a pet rabbit inside a glass tank.
Family with child looking at rabbit through a glass tank. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

“I remember when I was six years old, the way to take care of rabbits is to put it in a fish tank with newspaper,” says Lynne.

Unlike some pet stores, it is not ideal for rabbits to be kept in tanks where there is minimal ventilation. This is to help reduce odour.

Rabbits are consistently eating and pooping throughout the day, unlike humans who only poop two to three times a day.

They can form about 200 to 300 of those round stools a day.

To ensure they remain odourless, rabbits need to be potty trained.

Myth 2: They eat carrots

A white bunny with black eyes and ears standing beside a small plate of three baby carrots.
A rabbit with a plate of baby carrots. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Contrary to the Bugs Bunny cartoon character, rabbits should eat carrots in moderation.

In replacement of carrots, which are high in sugar, hay should be a staple in their diet followed by leafy green.

The hay helps to keep their guts working and consumption should be two to three times of their size. Timothy hay is also recommended.

Pellets displayed in pet shops are also inaccurate in portraying the optimum diet for rabbits.

Myth 3: They need wet showers

A white rabbit with brown eyes, ears and nose getting a wet bath in a bathtub.
A rabbit getting a wet shower. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

It is not recommended for rabbits to take a wet bath.

Rabbits do not have oil glands on their body like dogs and cats.

The cool water from a wet shower can lower their body temperature and cause a heart attack. If they are not dried completely, thermal shock may occur and they might pass away. Wet showers are therefore dangerous due to their thin skin.

A dry or powder bath is sufficient in keeping rabbit sanitary and clean.

These mellow creatures also do not require too much grooming.

The typical short haired rabbit would only require nail clippings, trimming and brushing as part of their grooming regime.

Myth 4: Need for affection

A closeup photo of a light grey rabbit being held by a pair of hands.
A light grey rabbit held in a pair of hands. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

When you see these little furries attempt to give you a little head bump, they are seeking affection.

Unlike dogs or cats, rabbits are not vocal in expressing their need for attention. Therefore, owners are usually unaware when their rabbits are sick or unwell.

Rabbit owners should conduct regular checks to ensure your pet rabbits are eating, pooping well and in pink of health.

Myth 5: They are cheap to own

A rabbit rests next to a rolled up bundle of hundred American dollars.
A light brown rabbit next to a bundle of hundred dollar banknotes. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

According to DollarsAndSense, owning a pet rabbit would amount to roughly S$2,530 in the first year. With an average life span of about a decade, lifetime commitment can accumulate to about S$11,000 in total.

Adopting pets should therefore be seen as a luxury. On top of adoption or purchase fees, cost should be set aside for food, grooming and vet care.

“Parents usually get the idea of adopting a rabbit from their children. They may not carefully think about the commitment towards it,” shares Lynne.

She points out the importance of having your basic necessities met before considering a new pet.

Resources such as space, money and time required to care for pets are derived from parents.

As such, pet stores and sellers should educate their customers on responsible pet ownership before making the sale.

Do carefully consider these facts before you buy or adopt these cute and cuddly animals! Let us all do our part to discourage rabbit abandonment.

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